Purpose:: The purpose was to estimate the prevalence of blindness due to cataract, assess visual outcomes of cataract surgery, and determine the cataract surgical coverage rate and barriers to uptake of services among individuals aged 50 years or older in Plateau State, Nigeria. Materials and Methods:: A population-based, cross-sectional survey of 4200 adults 50 years or older was performed. Multistage stratified random sampling, with probability proportional to size was used to select a representative sample. The Rapid Assessment of Cataract Surgical Services protocol was used. Statistical significance was indicated by (P < 0.05). Results:: The cohort comprised 4115 subjects (coverage: 98%). The prevalence of bilateral blindness due to cataract was 2.1%, [95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.7-2.5%] in the entire cohort, 2.4% in females (95% CI: 1.8-3.8%); and 1.8% in males (95% CI: 1.2-2.4%) (χ2 = 0.85, P > 0.05). The prevalence of monocular blindness due to cataract was 5.9% (95% CI: 5.2-6.6%). The cataract surgical coverage for subjects with visual acuity (VA) less 3/60 was 53.8% in the entire cohort; 60.5% for males and 48% for females (χ2 = 2.49, P > 0.05). The couching coverage for subjects who were blind was 12%. A total of 180 eyes underwent surgical intervention (surgery or couching) for cataract, of which, 48 (26.7%) eyes underwent couching. The prevalence of bilateral (pseudo) aphakia was 1.5%, (95% CI: 1.2-1.9%) and 2.7% (95% CI: 2.2-3.2%) for unilateral (pseudo) aphakia. Visual outcomes of the 180 eyes that underwent surgical intervention were good (VA ≥ 6/18) in 46 (25.6%) eyes and poor (VA < 6/60) in 105 (58.3%) eyes. Uncorrected aphakia was the most common cause of poor outcome (65.1%). Most subjects who underwent cataract surgery were not using spectacles 74 (71.2%). Cost and lack of awareness were the main barriers to uptake of cataract surgery services. Conclusion:: Couching remains a significant challenge in Nigeria. The outcomes of cataract surgery are poor with the lack of aphakic correction being the main cause of the poor outcomes.
Issn0974-9233 (Print) 0975-1599 (Electronic)
JournaltitleMiddle East African Journal of Ophthalmology